Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.

  • The Dark Side of Fluorescent Lights

    We all have summer projects. Mine is to change out the old fluorescent bulbs and tubes in my laundry room and kitchen and retrofit the lighting fixtures to LED. 

    This conversion to LED means I’m done with the 48-inch tubes and possibly the ballast as well.  So, what am I supposed to do with those items? 

    First of all, never throw them in the trash. (Confession here: Several years ago, following another light fixture project, I did throw the bulbs and ballast into the trash can. I didn’t know any better. I was young and naïve, which is my lame excuse for any stupid thing I did in the past.)  

    Many of the larger hardware stores don’t accept the 48-inch lights for recycling, but they will take compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. Those bulbs can be hazardous if they aren’t disposed of correctly. If broken, the bulbs can release mercury. 

    Basically, you need to find out how your local jurisdiction handles the materials. Do an online search and figure out if you need to drop the tubes off at a local collection site or if your area has a household hazardous waste pickup service.

    As for the ballast, some older products are considered potentially hazardous since they could contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). Those ballasts should be disposed at a hazardous waste facility.  Check with your local jurisdiction to find out where to take these items in your area. Recent electrical ballasts can be recycled at some light bulb specialty stores, or you can send them back via a mail-in program. Besides your county, is another good resource to find out where you can properly dispose of the ballasts. 

    So, if you’re planning to change out those pesky fluorescent bulbs, these simple tips will have you more prepared. Good luck with your project!

    Fluorescent light tube
    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Jul 18, 2019

  • Baseball Teams Make a Play for Less Waste

    It’s summertime, the kids are out of school, and families are packing up and heading to the ballpark for a baseball game.

    When you get to the game, it’s pretty much eating time. Sure, watching batters hit and pitchers pitch may be fun, but, come on, the little ones love going because they’re eating a hot dog, ice cream, or cotton candy. Heck, it’s tempting to get even more food during the seventh-inning stretch while hearing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, including this beauty from the lyrics: “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.” 

    tray of ballpark food -- hotdog, chips, soft drink

    But, recently, after watching a game with the family, I noticed something: trash underneath the seats—a lot of it.

    So, how much garbage is generated during a baseball game? Obviously, it depends on how many fans attend. But in 2010, the Los Angeles Daily News reported that 3.11 tons of trash were produced during a home game at Dodger Stadium. That’s quite a bit going to the landfill.

    Some major league and minor league teams are trying to change that. Those teams have created environmentally focused programs to promote recycling and composting, as well as overall sustainability. As part of the San Francisco Giants’ “Green Initiative,” the organization recycles or composts items like cans, bottles, plastic cups, cardboard, paper, wood pallets, electronic components, light bulbs, batteries, cooking grease, food waste, and grass clippings. The Giants claim 95.08 percent of the waste at their ballpark in 2016 was diverted from the landfill through their recycling and composting program.

    The San Diego Padres also have a recycling and waste diversion program. They have been promoting digital ticketing instead of paper tickets to fans while serving ballpark food with service trays and packaging made of recycled materials and biodegradable materials. Plastic drinking straws have also been replaced with paper straws.

    These programs only work if fans are conscientious about it. In other words, don’t just throw trash underneath the seats, but make an effort to find a garbage, recycling, or compost bin and dump it there. You can even collect your peanut shells and compost them yourself. (Here’s a recent blog about how to start composting.)

    We can all have fun watching the game, eating Cracker Jack and being mindful of our environment at the same time. That’s a home run in my scorebook. 

    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Jun 20, 2019

  • Pack Your Bag, It's Farmers Market Day

    It's Wednesday, and in downtown Sacramento, that means it's farmers market day! Lucky for us at CalRecycle, the CalEPA building is catty-corner from Cesar Chavez Park, which hosts the market. We've been urging our colleagues to bring reusable bags to the market to carry their produce rather than accept single-use bags from vendors. See our Less-Waste Farmers Market video for the story

    Less-Waste Farmers Market


    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Jun 5, 2019